Rieckmann Family
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Elisabeth and Christoph Rieckmann
Sometime in the 1950's, my Dad showed me a small paper with German handwriting and the embossed seal of a church on it and dated 8 February 1867. Dad could read the German script, and he translated it for us, but some of the writing was difficult to discern. Fortunately, I wrote down what he was able to decipher, because after he had died, we were unable to re-locate that precious document. Apparently, Christoph and Elisabeth Rieckmann got a certified copy of the baptisms of themselves and their two children before they emigrated to the United States. This little paper is the first source of the data from Hannover. This has been supplemented with other items from the church records in Ebstorf.

Christoph Heinrich Grobe Rieckmann, son of (unmarried) Maria Magdelena Dorothea Grobe and Heinrich Christoph Rieckmann, Dienstknecht at Stadorf
- born 14 September 1837, Linden.
- baptized 17 September 1837, Ebstorf. Sponsors were Johann Heinrich ____ of Linden, and Heinrich Christoph Peters of Oerrel.
- died 3 July 1913, Riverdale, Buffalo County, Nebraska
- married 12 April 1863 in Ebstorf to
Elisabeth Margaretha Wolle, daughter of Johann Heinrich Wolle and Kathrina Maria Stehr.
- born 13 July 1832, Altenebstorf, Hannover,
- bapt 15 July 1832, Ebstorf. Sponsors were Dorothea Elisabeth Rauen and Margaretha Bartels,
- died 15 February, 1914, Rusco Twp., Buffalo Co., Nebr.
Both are buried at Peake Cemetery, north of Riverdale, Buffalo County, Nebraska.

Signature of Christoph and Elisabeth from an 1892 warranty deed
Elisabeth signed with German script

Rieckmann Photo Album

Photos from Ebstorf and Altenebstorf, 2002


Ebstorf, Altenebstorf, Linden, Wittenwater and Oerrel are small towns in the Lueneburg Heide, or Luneburg Heath, near Uelzen in Hannover. Emigration records supplied to me by a resident of that area give us this data:
"[At] the City-archive of Uelzen they have a card-index for quite all of the 6000 emigrants, who left the county of Uelzen. They found following informations:

1. A Heinrich Christoph Rieckmann from Ebstorf left 1867 for Chicago with his wife, a son and a daughter (both under 14 years old). His profession was given as Tageloehner (day-labourer).

The woman in the archive gave me also some names of Wolle emigrants:

2. A Johann Heinrich Wolle from Altenebstorf, born 1836 left 1865 to Chicago.

3. A Wilhelm Wolle from Altenebstorf left 1867 for Chicago with his wife Dora and son Heinrich.

4. A Heinrich Wilhelm Wolle left 1867 with his daughter Dora for USA."


The baptism certificate for daughter Anna states that she was born in 1869 in Washington, Illinois. She was baptized at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Beecher, Will County, Illinois. There is a Washington Township in Will County, so that is where I searched for the family in the 1870 census. (I also searched in Kankakee County, because Anna spoke of growing up there.) The only family that I could find that matches their vital data is this one in Washington, Will County:
Christian Repe, age 33, born Hanover
Betsy, age 36, born Hanover
Henry, age 6, born Hanover
Mary, age 3, born Hanover
Anna, age 1, born Illinois
Except for the surname, all the ages, names and birthplaces match our Rieckmann family, and there is no other family in Will or Kankakee counties that matches.

The confirmation certificate of Mary Rieckmann is from St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Yellowhead Township, Kankakee County, Illinois. This church is north and east of Grant Park, and lies only about 1 miles from the Indiana border. Previously affiliated with the Missouri Synod, it is now a Wisconsin Lutheran congregation. The records there include the baptisms of Katherine Marie Dorothea, born 14 May 1871, and Wilhelm F., born 21 Sep 1873. But there are no baptism dates nor god-parents listed. The church burned down in 1880, so I suspect the original more complete records were lost at that time. I was able to find the names of Christoph Rieckmann and his family in communicant lists and business meetings from about 1875 until Easter 1880. They were very faint and hard to read, so there may have also been earlier mention of them, but I was unable to find it

A wonderful break-through came when I was contacted by a woman in Iowa who found the 1890 photo of the Rieckmann family that matches a photo that she has. We both started digging into records to try to find the connection. She is descended from Elisabeth Wolle's half-sister Margarethe Meyer Peters.

From census records in Will and Kankakee counties, farmers' directories, some death records and comparing those with the data from the church books in Ebstorf, Germany, along with family information from a relative in Iowa, we've been able to put together several families of siblings and half-siblings of Elisabeth Wolle Rieckmann. Stehr, Meyer and Wolle new

Data from the Uelzen Archives, on the WOLLE Family

While in Illinois Christoph purchased some land in Nebraska, supposedly a developed farm. But when the family arrived, there were none of the expected improvements, so they lived in a dugout until they could build a more permanent home. (Conversation with Aunt Selma.)

They moved to Nebraska about 1880. The oldest daughter was confirmed in Illinois in March 1880. But the family was in Rusco township, Buffalo county, Nebraska, in time for the 1880 Federal census, taken in June.

More notes from the conversation with Dad (Bill Mueller):

When they first came to Buffalo County, they homesteaded on the SE quarter of Section 32 of Rusco Township. Later they pre-empted the SW quarter of Section 33.

While Christoph and Elisabeth were living in the dug-out with a straw roof, a prairie fire approached one day when she was home alone. She grabbed some things and ran to a hill. Later, after the wind turned and the danger had passed, she discovered she had taken the clock and the Bible.

According to church records at Immanuel Lutheran, Watertown, rural Amherst, there was a preaching station at Rieckmann's home, and there were baptisms there as early as 1885. He was a delegate to the church conference in July 1888. Christoph, his son Heinrich, and son-in-law William Mueller were charter members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Peake, rural Riverdale, Nebraska.

After Christoph retired from farming, he and Elisabeth lived in Grand Island for awhile, and then returned to Riverdale where they lived on the north edge of the town until Christoph's death in 3 July 1913. Then Elisabeth lived with her daughter Anna Mueller in Rusco Township, where she died 15 February 1914. Christoph and Elisabeth Rieckmann were buried at the Peake Cemetery, seven miles north of Riverdale.

Barn on the Christoph Rieckmann farm, built by his son Henry, recently covered with galvanized iron, currently (2000) owned by Joe Posusta.



1. Heinrich Wilhelm Christoph Rieckmann,
- born 21 March 1864, Hannover, died 5 June 1930, Riverdale, Nebr.
- married Mary Schneider

2. "Maria," Kathrina Maria Dorothea Rieckmann,
- b 13 October 1866, Ebstorf, Hannover, died 12 October 1905, Amherst, Nebr.
-married Carl Rusch.

3. Anna Maria Dorothea Rieckmann,
- b 28 February 1869, Illinois, died 18 October 1950, Kearney, Nebr.
- married William Carl Mueller.

4. Katherine Maria Dorothea Rieckmann,
- born 14 May 1871, Illinois, died 24 Sep 1932, Grand Island, Nebr.
- married William Scheffel.

5. Wilhelm F. Rieckmann,
- born 21 September 1873, Illinois, died 12 September 1946, Riverdale, Nebr.
- Never married.


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